How To Conduct An Employee Engagement Survey

Conducting an employee survey is a proven method of gathering actionable feedback. Hiring a professional to assist is always a good move, but if that's cost-prohibitive for your company, you shouldn't avoid conducting an employee survey altogether. Instead, start small with a DIY survey and use the insight you gain to justify more in-depth data gathering in the future. When your data is used effectively, engagement and employee satisfaction increase dramatically, reducing the likelihood that team members will seek alternative means of resolving their concerns – unionizing, for example.

Far too many HR professionals begin the engagement survey process with the best of intentions, then find their strategy backfires because no meaningful change results from employee feedback. Conducting effective employee engagement surveys is only half the battle. Remember: failure to take action is more discouraging for employees than passing on the engagement survey altogether.

Remember: failure to take action is more discouraging for employees than passing on the engagement survey altogether. #EmployeeSurveys

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What Is An Employee Engagement Survey

What Is an Employee Engagement Survey

Employee engagement is defined as how invested an employee is in their work, their team, and the company. For example, if you are engaged in your job you would be more likely to go above and beyond for your clients or customers.

Engagement can have a huge impact on business success because it makes employees feel good about what they are doing which makes employees more productive. A simple way to increase engagement is through employee surveys.

An employee survey is a great way to check the pulse of your employees by asking them what they think about different aspects of their jobs. You can then look at where you are doing well, and where you might need improvement on things like pay, resources, company culture, or leadership. There are many different types of surveys, including phone surveys, written surveys, or even video interviews that can help you measure employee engagement.

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How To Conduct The Survey - A Step-by-Step Guide

The first step in developing an effective engagement survey is developing your strategy. Based on your population, does it make sense to conduct short, frequent surveys or to develop a comprehensive questionnaire that is administered quarterly, semi-annually or annually? In many cases, a combination of the two strategies is an effective option, if your budget allows.  Determining what type of employee engagement is best for your company is crucial to the success of your survey - and your business. 

Next, consider how you can best pinpoint specific, actionable engagement information. By using the right engagement survey questions, you'll be able to more effectively gather the results you're looking for. While general questions like “Do you expect to be with the company in one year?” are helpful on a longer form, right now it is better to know, “If you could change one thing about your work environment, what would it be?” Once you know your employee engagement survey questions and how often you want to conduct surveys, select your survey application. This can be overwhelming as there are an extraordinary number of applications on the market.

Determine which software will best meet your needs by keeping an eye on your budget, the number of questions you plan to ask, the number of employees you will survey, and the type of analytics you want to see in your results display. Some of the most popular options include the following:

  • TINYpulse is specifically designed for short, frequent anonymous surveys, so you can compare results over time.
  • Culture Amp offers a larger suite of survey options, as well as comprehensive analytics and benchmarking reports.
  • Qualtrics has all of the survey features you expect, and if you need additional support, take advantage of Qualtrics’ consulting and support teams.
  • 15five has pulse surveys and weekly check-ins, which are helpful in monitoring employee engagement in real-time. In addition, recognition tools are incorporated into the application, making it easier than ever for the management team to provide real-time employee feedback.

Finally, communicate with staff members to ensure they understand the purpose of the employee engagement survey. Emphasize that their identity will remain anonymous and encourage honest participation.

What Are The Benefits Of Conducting An Employee Engagement Survey

Why Should You Conduct a Survey

If you want a business that succeeds over the long run or if you want to improve your career or your company, then you need engaged employees. By conducting and effective employee engagement survey, you will learn what's going well and what's not in your organization. Employee satisfaction and engagement is all about how connected people feel towards their careers and organizations. It measures the emotional commitment that employees have towards their jobs or companies.

Employee engagement is what drives productivity and quality of service, so it's easy to understand why your organization should conduct an employee engagement survey. When you feel connected to what you're doing, it's easier for you to do a better job and to feel satisfied about your work.

There are many things that affect employee engagement at work – everything from feedback procedures to training opportunities and the way that managers communicate. Sometimes you need to study your organization carefully and do a little detective work to discover why employees aren't engaged and what can be done about it. By asking questions in a survey, you'll get a good handle of differing employee engagement levels and find out how employees feel about their jobs, the management team, and the company as a whole. You'll also learn how they feel about specific issues like leadership, employee recognition, training and work conditions.

The Benefits of Conducting an Employee Engagement Survey

Along with understanding your workforce's employee engagement levels, engagement surveys allow organizations to better understand workplace dynamics in the following six ways:

  1. Identifying key strengths and weaknesses 
  2. Highlighting the ‘whys’ behind engagement trends 
  3. Identifying the specific changes your workforce needs to feel a greater sense of involvement 
  4. Pinpointing how different aspects of company culture affect engagement 
  5. Telling you where to focus your efforts on engagement improvement 
  6. Courting top talent

Who Should Be Included In The Survey

Only including those employees that are engaged in an employee engagement survey is like evaluating your marketing campaign by only talking to customers who liked it – you're only going to get half the picture. This can be a very costly mistake, as ignoring disengaged employees might result in losing up to 50% of the workforce's total productivity.

To ensure you get a complete picture, make sure everyone is included (i.e., engaged and average employees) when surveying your workforce. Engaged employees are more likely to feel like they're part of an organization that cares about them, which can lead to protecting company secrets or encouraging others to stay with the organization.

As for disengaged employees, they're more likely to contribute to bad business decisions (e.g., boycotting or refusing to buy your products) and discourage others from staying with your company, which can result in losing up to 50% of the workforce's total productivity. It is important to measure all employees in order to take appropriate action.

Employee Engagement Survey Data

How To Use The Data From The Surveys

While your first impulse may be to focus your limited resources on items that received the most attention in the employee engagement survey results, this isn’t always the best philosophy. A single individual might mention a policy or compliance violation that could – if not addressed – lead to serious legal and regulatory issues down the road.

In some cases, a small number of individuals offer feedback on a particular concern, and it can appear that the problem isn’t pressing. However, this group may represent an entire team that is poorly managed, or it could be a few folks who are feeling powerless and disenfranchised within the organization. In both cases, these individuals are very likely next in line for jumping ship.

Take specific action in response to your employee engagement surveys by improving policies and communicate the action and the employee feedback that prompted it. The communication is your opportunity to assure employees their voices are heard and valued, leading to increased employee satisfaction and better employee retention.

High levels of employee engagement cement your status as an employer of choice. The positive impacts of a strong reputation are hard to measure. From increased productivity and employee retention to an ability to attract top talent for vacant positions, you can be sure that an engaged workforce will improve your bottom line.

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Our method for improving employee engagement has helped thousands of companies, including half of the Fortune 100, master the art of creating employee advocates! Take the employee engagement assessment to determine your strengths and get feedback on your employee engagement strategy.

About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

With over 25 years in the industry, and now as IRI's Director of Business Development, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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